If you've spent any time planning a trip through the South, your research may have already led you to the Southern Foodways Alliance's treasure trove of oral histories; if not, be prepared to start planning a fantasy trip right about now. The project is part of the organization's mission to celebrate and document Southern food culture, and while the entire collection is worth exploring, maybe start with the most recent interviews featured on the site: That would be terrific talks with Southern women about their work, which, given that "Women at Work" was the theme of its annual symposium this past weekend in Oxford, Mississippi, only seems appropriate.
What makes these profiles particularly great is how these interviews were conducted; between the snippets of audio and the full transcripts, you gain a full, three-dimensional picture of who these women are. This is no small feat, especially considering that too many of these sorts of gender-based projects are reductive and flat, or, to borrow some terminology from Manohla Dargis, can't seem to unlock women from their gender.
Roadside Eats, a new Southern-inspired sandwich shop, will open for lunch today, September 12 at the Arclight complex. It'll join the growing list of restaurant options -- Stella Barra Pizzeria and Veggie Grill, to name some -- conveniently close for hungry movie-goers unsatisfied with just theater popcorn and soda for a meal.
Brought on as chef-partner by owners Ken Kaufman and Brian McKeaney, Dave Northrup
developed a menu that harks back in part to childhood experiences in the South. The fast casual restaurant is somewhat of a departure for the three who previously collaborated on bringing two gastropubs Rush Street and City Tavern to Downtown Culver City.
Disclosure: We have a secret crush on Norman King, author of The Way to Fry. The Southern Living editor has that old school, nerd next door charm. Meaning he looks like he has decades of plaid shirt and button down collar experience (a compliment), not merely a fleeting hipster vintage obsession. And did we mention that the man fries everything? Yes, including pecan pie and sweet tea.
Sure, there is a glossy Southern Living veneer about the recipes, each perfectly scripted with overtly enhanced food stylist shots (a photo of pecan-crusted chicken tenders looks so "done up" it would fit right in at a Southern hair salon). A few recipes call for ingredients long ago banished from our pantry, like self-rising flour (flour, baking powder and salt work just fine), quick-cooking grits (How can one not use fantastic stone-ground grits today?), and banana liqueur, quite possibly the worst flavored liqueur idea ever.
We're going to go out on a limb and suggest that the definition of what constitutes Fresh, Fabulous Recipes for the Modern Southern Cook, as per the book's subtitle, is still a few decades behind the California definition. But we're still going to try that fried Jack (Daniels, of course) and Coke recipe. You know, out of deep fried everything state fair solidarity. Get more, and that fried cocktail recipe, after the jump.
Who couldn't use more health and wealth in 2013? These are the gifts that eating collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year's Day delivers, according to Southern tradition. But where in Los Angeles can you find such rare and exotic menu items?
This week, in place of a review, we're running an essay about the Southern food trend in L.A. and beyond.
A few weeks ago, the Southern Foodways Alliance held its annual fall Symposium, and the chefs asked to cook the dinner that kicked off the event were L.A.'s own Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. What's Southern about the chefs behind Animal and Son of a Gun? More than you might imagine.
What is a fried dill pickle chip supposed to taste like? If you have been to The Penguin Drive-In, a circa-1950s roadhouse in the Plaza-Midwood district in Charlotte, N.C., you know there are four steps that elevate this crispy, Southern-style snack food with zero nutritional value to total greatness: The slices of brined cucumber must be immersed in a buttermilk bath (some say the pickle chips must receive a good soaking while others insist they should take only the briefest of dips in a pool of clabbered milk batter); the chips must not hit the deep-fat fryer until the second the server can be heard screeching out your ticket item to the hulking fry cook; the crust must be light, crunchy and almost tempura-like; and, lastly, your order must come with a side of Ranch dressing.
On first read, we didn't believe it ourselves when we decided to include a hybrid cookbook/anthology from an academic publisher, The World in a Skillet, and what boils down to a promotional cookbook from a cast-iron skillet maker, The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook, in the same post. But give us a second to make our cornbread case.
The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook, compiled and edited by Pam Hoenig, landed on our desk first. We pushed it aside as soon as we saw the "author" is Lodge Manufacturing in Tennessee, a company that has been making cast iron cookware for 116 years and has published numerous cookbooks on the subject over the decades. Sounds like yet another promotional supper.
It's hard to imagine a dreamier -- or perhaps creamier is the better term here -- food pairing than Latin and Southern cuisine. Who wouldn't love a Sunday brunch loaded with empanadas, tamales, fried chicken, corn pudding and both churros and key lime pie for dessert?
In The New Southern-Latino Table, food writer Sandra A. Gutierrez aims to give you the carnitas and BBQ ribs recipes to cook up your own cross-cultural kitchen pairing. In the "Latin" fried chicken recipe, the chicken is soaked in chipotle and cilantro-spiked buttermilk and served with a smoky chipotle ketchup. A collard green-orange salad with buttermilk dressing gets a sprinkling of salted pepitas, and the "Carolina Mexican rice" recipe is a twist Savannah red rice and sopa seca ("dry soup").
A great culinary merger proposition, but one that is tricky to pull off for a diverse American cookbook audience.
When it comes to the complex relationships with our food, there is perhaps none more duplicitous as the one we have with corn. It has been modified, vilified, and of course, deep fried. Still, we eagerly await its arrival every summer and can enjoy it in its various states in dishes from morning to night. And for those in-between times, corn is utilized in snack foods both the heavenly and the devilish.
Corn snacks are eaten throughout the world. Luckily we found the best corn snacks, no matter where they might hail from, utilize this versatile vegetable and grain in each of its states without it ever having to take a trip down an extruder. Turn the page for our favorites from Murakai's MamMoth Bakery, El Carriel, and our home kitchen after a trip to Surfas.